By NCHIMUNYA MIYOBA
President Edgar Lungu has called for a cost reflective floor price of maize as the Food Reserve Agency prepares the announcement of maize floor price.
Speaking during the official opening of the 2019 Copperbelt Agriculture, Mining, Industrial, Networking and Enterprise Expo at Kitwe’s show grounds yesterday President Lungu said farmers should no longer be exploited with high maize prices if rural poverty is to be overcome.
“The Food Reserve Agency (FRA) will continue to play its strategic role of ensuring that farmers in the rural and far flung areas of the country are provided with market. There is need for extensive consultations between FRA and farmers in determining the price.
“Government will not sit idle but will ensure that farmers are rewarded for their sweat because maize buyers must bear in mind the cost of producing the crop. In this farming season government will ensure that this year farm input distribution will be expedited. Those charged with the responsibility to carry out distribution of farm inputs programs should not be sluggish,” he said.
He assured farmers that delayed payments in the next marketing season will be thing of the past.
And President Lungu said the performance of the mining sector has been positive as seen by the growth of copper production by 7.8 percent in 2018.
He said copper production increased from 799,329 tonnes in 2017 to 861,946ib 2018 reflecting improved production in almost all mines.
Meanwhile speaking earlier Chairman for Copperbelt Mining Agriculture and Commercial show London Mwafulilwa said this year’s show has attracted 43 foreign companies coming from Spain, Germany, South Africa, China, Australia and companies from Zimbabwe trade organization have exhibited in this year’s exhibition.
Mr Mwafulilwa said this year’s numbers of exhibitors have slightly increased compared to last year’s exhibition with 260 companies exhibiting this year.
He said that 112 companies have exhibited in industrial and mining segments while 150 companies had exhibited in the Agricultural and livestock.